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Old March 27th, 2017, 08:04 PM   #16
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

Goes back to the approach meaning that it's unlikely any mic can do what your asking so it's better to structured it so only a few kids go at a time and take turns.

The program I was apart of we would learn and improve with each performance. Doing X isn't working for this age group let's do try to do Y instead.

Part of the skill to these things knowing the limits of your participants and working around them. You might not be in the position to make those decisions.
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Old March 28th, 2017, 03:50 AM   #17
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

With the school productions that we film, they are all junior schools and on temporary stages that are not very solid. That usually cuts out the use of boundary mics on the floor. Together with that, the whole stage is in use throughout the shows, with children walking on and off, sometimes in large groups so it would be impossible to use a stand mounted mic. To make it even more difficult, there are usually groups of children sitting either side and to the front of the stage, so no side mic space. That usually leaves the scenery or backdrop for mics, with the result that performers are facing away from the mic.

The best result I have had so far, is with the overhead suspended mic.

Roger
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Old March 30th, 2017, 11:30 PM   #18
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

When I think of a mic on a stand for young kids in a play, I think of a Peanuts TV special with Linus walking up to the mic to say something heartfelt and profound.

That's less likely to happen in a narrative performance. So, you're generally looking at a floor or hanging mic. But when one kid has a speech, having a mic on a stand would be the way to go.

FWIW, I had donated an old, Audio Technical dynamic mic to the local church. It worked, but was so so. The mic went missing and replaced it with an AT2010. What a great mic! It's a handheld condenser, so you'll need phantom power. You know the mic is good when people who know nothing about audio tech notice that it sounds good and is a joy to use. :) It has enough juice that it would work well even with mumbling kids. And at about $100, you won't lose sleep over the kids handling it.
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Old March 31st, 2017, 06:54 PM   #19
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

Thanks Jon

Yeah the kids were really scattered on the stage ..some standing, some sitting and some even lying on a blanket! so maybe a suspended mic would have worked but a stand would have been out of the question. No big deal however as this was an annual event so I'll figure something out for next year. The AT2010 might be a useful option.
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Old April 2nd, 2017, 09:21 PM   #20
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

This is a good discussion. Those mics can be a lifesaver as they were for Chris.

I just want to throw in that Boundary Mics and PZM (Pressure Zone Microphone) are an entire category of microphones with many nuances and handling characteristics of their own. And when I say of their own I am not talking about the category I am talking about EACH mic design. What works very well for one mic will cause another to become useless. For example some of them need the sound pressure reflected from the surface they are on to the point that placing a padded surface under them to improve sound quality will render them useless. The extended square body plates of the flatly shaped mic is not there for tape wings. It provides the hard surface the mic needs to amplify the pressure waves, but yes my gaff tape marks are on many of them. It all depends on the mounting surface. And some times walls ARE your best friend. It all depends on the situation and what you know about the design of your mic.

To figure out just the part of how yours responds to mounting surfaces, try the extremes. In the same room put it on a mirror and then on a piece of carpet. It will not sound like the same mic at all. There is much more to Boundary Mics than pick up patterns and the thought that they are catch all sound mics. You might find yourself gravely disappointed if you think that they catch all and don't understand your mic. Technique is important here.

Kind Regards,

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Old April 3rd, 2017, 07:35 AM   #21
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

The absolute experts on boundary mics is Bruce Bartlett - responsible for the design of quite a few, and the most popular one ever - the PCC-160, when he worked at Crown. He still makes his own mics and there are subtle differences in which ones work best - most described on his site. he's also a very approachable guy and over the years he's given me decent advice. His current mics are not only good sounding but tough, like the old PCC-166, which is theatre land's most common microphone.

https://www.bartlettaudio.com
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Old April 3rd, 2017, 08:10 AM   #22
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

Thanks Guys

Interesting information indeed. The sound guy at the theatre said the reason they put a barrier between the floor and the mic is to dampen out footsteps. I just put a thin layer of gaffer tape on the base but that could have been an issue. I can see the usefulness of having a plate under and around the base as that would act as a reflector ...my two AKG's are really tiny with no base plates at all so I'm assuming they need a fairly good contact with a base ... I think I read a while back that a minimum of 4' square of surface is needed to make the mic effective so yes Steve, a wall is awesome and I have used that before. In mine the mic element faces upwards so one must assume that the sound reflects off the base area and is picked up by the top surface of the mic. I know mine need the top "vents" clear as I accidentally used gaffer tape over the top of one mic at this play and it's output plummeted!! I still do the odd wedding reception and a boundary on the lectern/podium works very well until someone places their wad of notes on it!! I usually put a strip of tape over the cable to keep the mic in place but I'm sure it would be better with a more solid contact with the surface ..must try that (maybe a slither of double sided tape under the base would work) as they are very light and can quite easily lift off the area they are supposed to be sitting on.

Very under used type of microphone and can be really effective if used correctly !!
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Old April 4th, 2017, 03:12 AM   #23
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Re: Audio for a Kiddies Stage Play

Theatres often do the foam approach, simply because of mechanical noise from tons of feet, and most theatre people know their own venue very well and while elevating the mic off the deck impacts performance, the foam reduces another problem. Worth noting that theatres tend to use them in odd numbers, depending on width. One, or three, or five spread across the width. You do get some comb filtering when you use multiples, but as the output drops of quite rapidly with distance - it's rarely a big issue. Without any doubt at all, they work better on stages than multiple cardioids or shotguns on short stands. For recording you have a decent workable system with them - especially if you get the PCC, rather PZM types, because they have a reduced coverage at the rear. For live sound, people often expect loads of volume, but feedback sets their limit at mild and modest. Lots of users want musical sound levels from them, and it isn't going to happen - but recordings are fine.

Remember that for them to have the magical powers (ha ha) the mic element needs to be on the barrier (the floor). The theory being that by the mic being on that barrier, the floor component in terms of reflections into the mic vanish. Moving the mic even a little above the barrier on the plate, or the plate plus the foam, or on a small sized barrier spoil this effect to a degree. Hence why they are so popular in things like interview rooms where walls, ceiling, and floor are often smooth, hard painted reflecting surfaces that mess up definition in the recordings. By using a barrier mic, you remove the contributions of 1 of the rooms surfaces - which is why they are so popular.
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